Nurse Accused of Faking COVID Vaccine Shots for At Least 45 People to Get Health Passes

A nurse in Italy has been accused of faking COVID vaccine shots for at least 45 people to get fraudulent health passes.

Police in Ancona, on Italy's eastern coast, arrest the nurse who allegedly ditched vaccines in a bin and even put bandages on "patients" so they wouldn't draw suspicion to the scam.

Police also placed four alleged accomplices under house arrest. They are accused of looking for anti-vaccine customers who were willing to pay for a health pass instead of receiving the COVID vaccine. Altogether, the workers made a minimum of 18,000 euros, nearly $20,500, through the scam, according to police, Sky News reported.

Police are also investigating 45 people who allegedly received the fraudulent health passes in the scam, according to a statement. Some paid up to $450 for the passes, WJAC-TV reported. They must check in daily with police and are banned from leaving their cities, police said.

A special police squad at the Paolinelli vaccine center in Ancona uncovered the scam, according to WJAC-TV.

Police launched an investigation into the nurse in December of 2020, discovering that the nurse "simulated the inoculation of the vaccine serum making it useless, dispersing it in the waste bin and inside the container, the so-called agobox," in exchange for money, police said, according to WJAC-TV.

Police captured the nurse on video working in the huge vaccine hub, appearing to squirt the needle's content into a medical waste bin before pretending to inject the dose into a patient's arm, putting a bandage on when finished, they said.

Nurse, Arrested, Italy, Fake Vaccine Pass, Scam
A nurse in Italy has been accused of faking COVID vaccine shots for at least 45 people to get fraudulent health passes. Diego Puletto/Getty Images

The suspects are accused of corruption, falsifying information and embezzlement, though police added that the fake vaccination scheme also wasted a "fundamental public resource."

Italy has cracked down increasingly hard on the unvaccinated, requiring proof of vaccination or a recent recovery from COVID-19 to access a host of leisure activities as well as services such as public transport. Italy, where the outbreak first erupted in Europe in February of 2020, has inoculated 86 percent of its over-12 population and has administered boosters to about 60 percent of those eligible.

There have been several cases of police investigations into fake health passes, and one headline-grabbing case of a dentist who went in to get his jab with a silicone fake arm. After his stunt landed him under criminal investigation, the dentist announced he had gotten vaccinated and said he was merely protesting the government's vaccine mandates for health care workers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.